Cook County Publishes Procedural Rules for Sick Leave Ordinance

In the Oct. 18, 2016, Compliance Corner, we reported on the passage of the Cook County Earned Sick Leave Ordinance 16-4229, which enacts Cook County Code Chapter 42, Human Relations, Article 1. The ordinance creates paid sick leave provisions that provide paid sick and safe leave to employees performing more than 80 hours of work in Cook County for an employer within any 120-day period. Further, the Cook County Commission on Human Rights (“the Commission”) will administer and enforce the ordinance.

After engaging in a public rulemaking process, the Commission adopted interpretative and procedural rules for its enforcement of the ordinance. Some of the highlights of the ordinance and its procedural rules are as follows:

  • Employers that gainfully employ at least one covered employee and who have at least one place of business within Cook County are covered by the ordinance. Some exemptions from coverage apply, such as construction workers who are covered by a collective bargaining agreement, Indian tribes and governmental employers.
  • The ordinance covers employees who work within Cook County for at least two hours in a two-week period for a covered employer while physically present in Cook County. Some exceptions from coverage apply.
  • The ordinance is not limited to full-time employees, but also covers part-time, temporary, seasonal, occasional and new or re-hired employees.
  • New employees can use accrued sick leave after an initial six-month probationary period, and employers that offer combined leave benefits such as paid time off (PTO) are exempt from these requirements so long as employees could accrue and use up to five days (40 hours) of PTO within a calendar year.
  • The ordinance requires employers to provide employees with one hour of paid sick and safe leave for every 40 hours worked.
  • Employees may accrue a maximum of 40 hours of paid sick leave over the course of one year and can roll over up to half of their unused accrued earned sick leave to the following year, up to a maximum of 20 hours.
  • If an employer is subject to FMLA, each of the employer's covered employees shall be allowed, at the end of his or her 12-month accrual period, to carry over up to 40 hours of unused accrued earned sick leave, in addition to the allowed 20-hour carryover, to use exclusively for FMLA-eligible purposes.
  • Employers may establish reasonable notice requirements for employees to use sick leave under the ordinance.
  • Certain employer notices and postings are required. A model notice is available from the Commission.

As a reminder, the ordinance goes into effect on July 1, 2017. The implementation of the ordinance may require affected employers to review and revise their benefits policies to be compliant with these new requirements.

Ordinance 16-4229 »
Procedural Rules »
Model Notice »